Rockettes dynamic routine unable to blast squad into IHSA finals

BLOOMINGTON - Members of the Rockettes Dance Team perform during Friday's preliminary round at the IHSA Competitive Dance State Finals. The Unity squad, which qualified for state at the St. Anthony sectional nearly a week earlier, failed to advance to Saturday's championship round finish 18th out of the 30 best squads in the state. The team missed qualifying for the final round for the fifth time since 2015 by just 4.62 points. See more photos from the team's performance at state here.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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St. Joseph-Ogden rolls past St. Thomas More, 59-28

Tanner Jacob tries to pull down an offensive rebound

CHAMPAIGN - St. Joseph-Ogden's Tanner Jacob reaches up to pull down an offensive rebound during second half action of his basketball team's road game at St. Thomas More on Tuesday. Behind teammate Ty Pence's game-high 30 points along with scoring contributions from eight other players, the Spartans (17-4, 2-2) rolled past the Sabers, 59-28. SJO will look to extend their two-game win streak when they play at home on Friday hosting the Monticello Sages. Jacob finished with eight points via a pair of treys and a field goal for the Spartans.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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Photo of the Day | January 25, 2023

Ellie Ward dives after a loose ball

Spartans dive in to pull off hardcourt upset

ST. JOSEPH - Spartans' Ellie Ward goes after a loose ball with Mattoon's Xylia Greeson during their non-conference game Monday. St. Joseph-Ogden rallied back from a 19-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Green Wave 52-49. With five more contests left in the season, the win extends the team's current win streak to three games.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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CUPHD offers low-cost radon tests, limited supply available

CHAMPAIGN - Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas released into the air from decaying matter in rocks, soil and water, in outdoor air are relatively harmless, radon can accumulate to dangerous levels inside buildings. It cannot be detected by sight, smell or taste by humans. Over time, the radioactive particles from the gas have been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in non-smokers.

January is National Radon Action Month, and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) is encouraging residents to learn more about radon gas and have their homes tested regularly.

CUPHD has home radon test kits, which are reliable and easy to use, for just $7.00, which can be picked up at in Environmental Health Division at 201 W. Kenyon Road in Champaign, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Buyers can also get a free t-shirt is also available with their purchase until they are gone.

For more information on radon and home radon test kits, contact CUPHD at (217) 373-7900 or visit

American Legion to host fish fry benefit for Troop 40

St. Joseph - Tickets are on sale now for three fish frys to raise money for St. Joseph's Boy Scouts.

The American Legion will host the first of three fish frys this Friday, January 27, the next one on February 24, and the final event on March 24.

The $10 meal includes two sides and a drink. Food will be served starting 4:30 pm and continue until 7 pm or until the fish is sold out on all three dates. Advance tickets can be purchased this Wednesday 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the IGA. Meal tickets can also be bought at the door on the day of the fry.

For more information visit the event Facebook page here.

SJO dance team qualifies for state finals, Unity dancers will also be there

SJO Dance Team performs at home basketball game
Members of the SJO Dance Team perform during halftime of the Spartans' home game against Prairie Central. The squad finished sixth at last Saturday's sectional meet in Effingham advancing to the IHSA Competitive State Dance Finals on Friday in Bloomington.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Effingham - The St. Joseph-Ogden Dance Team qualified for the IHSA Competitive Dance State Finals for the fifth time in program history at the St. Anthony Sectional on Saturday.

"We are very excited that the team has qualified, they have been working towards this goal all season and it feels good to have accomplished the first step of it!" said head coach Emily Williams, who has engineered the Spartan dance program to state all five times.

SJO will perform at approximately 1:13 pm in Friday's preliminary round at Grossinger Motor Arena. Unity's dance team, who also qualified for state placing third at the sectional meet, will take the stage 16 minutes later at 1:29.

Only the top 90 dance programs from the more than 800 Illinois High School Association member schools will display the fruit of their hard work, talent, and choreography on Friday. Making the cut for state, SJO and Unity are already among the top 30 small-school dance squads in Illinois.

Williams and the dance team hope to have a large contingent of fans, classmates, and supporters on hand to watch them perform.

"We are so excited to have fellow students, family, and friends in Bloomington on Friday to cheer us on," Williams said. "There is no better feeling than seeing a section full of SJO fans and hearing the cheers as we take the floor."

Fan energy can play a huge part in a team advancing to the final round. Out of the 30 qualifiers from the three classes, only 12 teams advance to the championship round on Saturday.

"IHSA state is a big deal and an exciting time for our school and community," she added. "We will appreciate all of the support."

In the meantime, the SJO Dance Team will spend the next four days polishing their routine to impress the judges. While the Spartan program has qualified for state four times since 2014, qualifying for the trophy round has been elusive.

"State is tough. We will go over our routine this week, count by count, and clean it up," Williams explained. "We will make any necessary changes early in the week, so we can drill it over and over before Friday."

The Unity dance team has advanced past the prelims four times since the 2014-15 season. The most recent appearance was just before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, when the squad finished in 6th place, the program's highest finish to date. Counting this weekend's success, Unity has qualified for state seven times. This is trip number one for first-year head coach Maddy Wilson.

Tickets are $11 per person and are now on sale online at Ticket Master. Tickets are also available by calling the City Box Office at (309) 434-2777. Doors open at 9:15a on Friday.

Sectional standings

1 Jacksonville 89.20
2 Clinton 82.13
3 Unity 78.08
4 Quincy Notre Dame 77.23
5 Lincoln 74.30
6 St. Joseph-Ogden 73.60

Guest Commentary | We can’t go wrong with good information

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

We like good news but typically the news is not good. Too often no news is good news. In reality, no news is bad news for us all.

There is lots of recent bad news. A crazed gunman entered a dance hall in Monterey Park, California killing 10 people and wounding many innocent people. A former employee walked into an Evansville, Indiana Walmart and shot an employee in the face in the store breakroom. The shooter was killed by local police. A planned protest in downtown Atlanta turned violent when protestors damaged stores and burned a police car over the weekend.

We did hear astonishing good news from Monterey Park. Brandon Tsay confronted the gunman at a second location where he was about to enter and kill more people. He heroically wrestled the gun away from the killer and pointed it at him causing the gunman to leave the scene. Only God knows how many lives Tsay saved. He is a true hero.

News is always happening nationally, locally and individually to us all. We need the information whether it’s good or bad. We need the national and regional news but the local news is up front and close to us.

For example, all around us we are targets of scams, thieves and prowling bad people. Americans were scammed to the tune 5.8 billion dollars in 2021. (Digital Guardian). We are never beyond being duped. Today, daily text messages, emails, phone calls and mail come to Americans phishing for a sucker who will buy the false story they are telling. They are good at what they do.

My son was away in a foreign country when I was duped out of $350 years ago. The caller was very professional sounding and convincing. I believed that if I did not pay the money owed by my son it would negatively impact his career. This was at the beginning of the telephone scam industry and I paid him the money. Later I realized that I had been scammed.

Years ago, a dear friend received a telephone call from someone posing as an IRS agent. The scammer told the senior adult man that he owed $45,000 in back taxes for various reasons. The friend was about 90 years old and living on a meager retirement income. He didn’t realize he was being scammed, was overwhelmed with anxiety and killed himself.

“At every level of life there is a new devil,” an old friend once said. At every stage of life there are new twists, turns and curves. We are never beyond being informed, learning and developing. Young people make mistakes but so do old people. We often think we’ve lived long enough and know most everything, but we don’t. Most of us have become more aware of this problem but crooks work at catching people off guard and are constantly developing new schemes.

Today, we have search engines and are inundated with news and information. However, we don’t hear all the news nor do we know everything we need to know when we need to know. Often, we learn the hard way. This is why education is expensive. Life experience education is often the most expensive and difficult of all learning processes. Even in life education we learn but we don’t always utilize the life experience very much. Too often we repeat the same mistakes hoping for a different outcome.

We can’t go wrong with good information. This is why you need the publication you are reading. Your local paper and online news sources are crucial to a community’s health and overall well-being. Local newspapers, blogs and online sources tell what is happening in your local town and county. Support this news source with your subscription and advertising needs. County newspapers that have been around for years continue to close. Every week I receive notification of a newspaper printing its final edition and that’s not good news.


Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of Grandpa's Store, American Issues, and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.


This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


Photo Gallery | Spartans notch win #18 to finish the season above .500

ST. JOSEPH - The SJO wrestling program went 3-0 on Saturday to finish the regular season dual schedule with an 18-16 record. St. Joseph-Ogden defeated Decatur MacArthur 54-21, Decatur Lutheran 72-9, and Hoopeston Area, 50-26.

Here are moments and memories from the Spartans' final match of the day against the Cornjerkers.

Hoopeton's Anthony Zamora spins around SJO's Carlson Sarnecki during the first period of the 170-pound match. Moments later Zamora pinned Sarnecki for his team's first win of the match.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Peyton Sarver
Grinning ear-to-ear Peyton Sarver celebrate his 39-second pin over Hoopeston's Bryson Baker.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Owen Birt works toward keeping head control
SJO's Owen Birt works toward keeping head control on Hoopeston's Landen Mills during their 220-pound match on Saturday afternoon. It took the senior just 1:31 for a first period pin to secure the win.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Quincy Jones pins Cornjerkers' Nick Brown during their 285-pound match.
Spartan wrestler Quincy Jones pins Cornjerkers' Nick Brown during their 285-pound match.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Camden Getty and Karleigh Spain cheer for a teammate
SJO wrestlers Camden Getty and Karleigh Spain cheer for 285-pound teammate Quincy Jones after his second period pin over Hoopeston's Nick Brown.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Owen Birt offers words of advice
Owen Birt offers words of advice to teammate Jackson Walsh (right) before he heads out to wrestle Hoopeston Area's Owen Garrett for the 106-pound bout.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Coach Gallo and Thompson
SJO assistant coach Sean Thompson and head coach Bill Gallo yell instructions to 106-pound wrestler Jackson Walsh during the team's match against Hoopeston Area.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO's Jackson Walsh scoots around Hoopeston's Owen Garrett
SJO's Jackson Walsh scoots around Hoopeston's Owen Garrett during their 106-pound match. Up 2-0 at the end of the first period, Walsh took 22 seconds in the second period to win his third match of the day.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Sophomore grappler Jackson Walsh
Sophomore grappler Jackson Walsh lets out a roar after a second period pin at 2:22 on Cornjerkers' Owen Garrett. Walsh, who wrestled in two other matches, finished the day undefeated.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Brandon Goodwin wrestles Hoopeston's Aiden Bell
SJO's Brandon Goodwin wrestles Hoopeston's Aiden Bell in the 126-pound match. Surviving three rounds, Goodwin fell by major decision, 13-0.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO's Holden Brazelton lifts Cornjerkers' Rsiah Jones for a throw. Brazelton cruised to a 16-0 tech fall.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Holden Brazelton wrestles Rasiah Jones at 138
Ashley Brazelton watches and records her son, Holden, while he piles on points on his way to a 16-0 technical fall on Hoopeston's Rasiah Jones during their 138-pound match.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO's Vance McComas
145-pounder David Bell from Hoopston tries to pull off a single-leg takedown on SJO's Vance McComas. Despite going the distance, McComas fell by major decision, 9-0.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Coy Hayes tries to roll Hoopston's Aiden Larkew
Spartans' Coy Hayes tries to roll Hoopston's Aiden Larkew during their 152-pound match. Larkew, who was up 4-2 in the match, was able to prevail with a pin at 5:04.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Aiden Bell picks up win for Hoopeston at multi-quad wrestling meet

ST. JOSEPH - Hoopeston Area's Aiden Bell wrestles St. Joseph-Ogden's Brandon Goodwin during their 126-pound match on Saturday at the six-team SJO Multi-Quad Meet. Bell won his bout by major decision, 13-0. In addition to Bell's win, Hoopeston Area also got wins from Angel Zamora, Aiden Larkew, David Bell, and Talen Nelson. It was not enough as the Cornjerkers, over-powered by the Sartans, fell 53-26 to SJO. In addition to SJO and Hoopeston, teams from St. Thomas More, Decatur Lutheran, MacArthur, and Cumberland competed at the half-day event.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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Photo of the Day | January 22, 2023

Cheering for Jones

ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph-Ogden wrestlers Karleigh Spain and Camden Getty cheer for teammate Quincy Jones after his second-period pin over Hoopeston Area's Nick Brown. Up 7-2 in their 285-pound match, Jones stuck Brown at 2:34 to give the Spartans a 30-6 margin heading into the lighter weight class matches at Saturday's multi-quad meet. SJO went 3-0 on the day to finished their regular season with 18 wins against 16 losses.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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